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General Hunting Laws & Regulations

It is illegal to:

  1. Hunt in state parks, in safety zones in state forests or wildlife management areas,and in Harpers Ferry National Historical Park.

  2. Shoot, hunt or trap upon the fenced or posted grounds of another person without having in your possession written permission from the landowner.

  3. Have a loaded firearm or a firearm with an attached magazine from which all shells have not been removed in or on any vehicle or land conveyance or its attachments. You can have a loaded clip or magazine in the vehicle as long as it is not in or attached to the firearm, except for concealed weapons permit holders.

  4. Carry an uncased or loaded firearm in the woods, except during open firearms hunting seasons. It is legal to hunt unprotected species of wild animals, wild birds and migratory game birds during the open season in fields, waters and marshes.

  5. Hunt with a fully automatic firearm.

  6. Hunt anything except deer in all counties having an antlered deer season during the first 3 days of this season. It is legal to hunt waterfowl during this period on lakes, rivers, and waterways during the open waterfowl season and to hunt bear in specified counties.

  7. Hunt deer, bear or boar between hour after sunset and hour before sunrise.

  8. Shoot at a deer or boar while it is in water.

  9. Be afield with a gun and bow, or with a gun and any arrows, except for concealed weapons permit holders.

  10. Carry an uncased gun in or on a vehicle between 5 p.m. and 7 a.m. E.S.T. from October 1 to June 30; and between 8:30 p.m. and 5 a.m. EST from July 1 to September 30.

  11. Carry an uncased or loaded gun after 5 a.m. on Sunday in counties which prohibit Sunday hunting, except at a regularly used firearm range, or except as provided in the trapping regulations.

  12. Shoot a firearm within 400 feet of a school or church, or within 500 feet of a dwelling, or on or near a park or other place where persons are gathered for pleasure.

  13. Hunt while under the influence of alcohol.

  14. For anyone under the age of 15 to hunt on public land or the lands of another unless accompanied by a licensed adult who remains near enough to render advice and assistance.

  15. Shoot an animal unless it is plainly visible

  16. Use or take advantage of artificial light in hunting, locating, attracting, or trapping wild birds or wild animals while in possession or control of any firearm, whether cased or uncased, bow, arrow, or other implement suitable for taking, killing or trapping a wild bird or animal. However, lights ordinarily carried on the person may be used for taking raccoon, skunk and opossum. No person shall be guilty merely because he uses an artificial light to look for, at, or attract a wild bird or animal, unless he has in his possession a firearm, whether cased or uncased, bow, arrow, or other implement suitable for taking, killing or trapping a wild bird or animal, or unless the artificial light (other than the headlamps of a vehicle or other land conveyance) is attached to, a part of, or used from a vehicle or other land conveyance.

  17. Hunt or fish with a modified bow without a special permit issued by the Director.

  18. Get out of a motor vehicle along a public road and shoot a bow or firearm unless you are at least 25 yards from the vehicle.

  19. Smoke wildlife from its den or place of refuge except as provided by law or regulation.

  20. Hunt with a crossbow or have a crossbow afield.

  21. Catch or kill, or attempt to do so by seine, net, bait, trap, deadfall, snare, or like device, any bear, game bird, protected bird, protected mammal, or wild boar.

  22. Bait or feed bear.

  23. Hunt or shoot at wild animals or birds from an airborne conveyance, from a vehicle or other land conveyance, from a motor-driven water conveyance, or from or across a public road, unless specifically authorized to do so by law or regulation. You may shoot from a motorized watercraft if the motor has been completely shut off and its progress from the motor has ceased.

  24. Use any poisons, chemicals or explosives in taking any furbearing animal, game animal, game bird or protected song and insectivorous bird, provided that groundhogs may be controlled on private land by landowners, their resident children or resident parents, or a resident tenant from April 1 through September 30.

  25. Use larger than #4 solid ball ammunition, except for .22 caliber or smaller rimfire during the bucks-only deer season in the 4 counties closed to bucks-only hunting.

  26. Hunt between 1/2 hour after sunset and 1/2 hour before sunrise with any firearm larger than .22 caliber rimfire, a shotgun using solid ball ammunition or shot shells larger than #4 shot.

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